Linfield extends record-setting winning streak

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jj Anderson

Linfield beats Pacific to extend their winning streak to 65 consecutive seasons

JJ Anderson, Staff Writer

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One win away from achieving their 65th consecutive winning season, the Linfield football team routed the Pacific Boxers 52-23 Saturday afternoon at Maxwell Field and Memorial Stadium. 

After a quick three and out forced both offenses to leave the field with no damage done, the Boxers struck first with a 27-yard field goal to take the lead 3-0. 

On the preceding drive, senior quarterback Wyatt Smith led the Wildcats’ offense on a 12-play drive resulting in a 17-yard touchdown pass to junior running back Connor Morton. 

Another forced punt by the Linfield defense allowed Smith to toss his second touchdown pass of the game. This one was to his younger brother, junior wide receiver Colton Smith, on a four-yard strike to open up the scoring in the second quarter.

Two more empty drives eventually led to the Boxers first touchdown of the game, bringing the score to 14-10, Wildcats.

Receiving the kickoff to open up the second half, junior running back Connor McNabb capped off a seven-play 79-yard drive with a one-yard plunge into the endzone for his lone touchdown of the day. McNabb led the Wildcats’ offense in rushing, totaling 81 yards and averaging 4.4 yards per rush. 

The ‘Cats defense would get off the field again, leading to a 43-yard field goal by senior kicker Drew Starkel, pushing Linfield’s lead to 24-10.

The Boxers offense was stymied again by the stout Linfield defense, forcing another punt.

In typical fashion, Smith delivered a 61-yard touchdown strike down the field on the first play of the drive to sophomore wide receiver Joel Valdez. Valdez led the Wildcats in receiving with a career high of 143 yards. 

The Wildcat offense would find the endzone again to start the fourth quarter on a 40-yard scamper by Smith to take a 37-10 lead. 

A 75-yard kick return by the Boxers set them  up with pristine field position, punching it in from 13-yards out to bring the score to 38-17. 

Linfield got their chance to respond, and respond they did. Putting together an impressive six play, 70-yard drive resulting in a 10-yard touchdown rush from Morton, his second touchdown of the day. 

Another breakdown in the Linfield kickoff coverage led to a 70-yard return, placing the Boxers on the Wildcat’s own 12-yard line. Two plays later, Pacific would respond with a touchdown of their own. 

A failed onside kick attempt by the Boxers gave Smith and the offense a short field to work with. 

Smith capped off the last scoring drive of the game with his fourth and final touchdown pass of the game, an eight-yard strike to junior wide receiver Devon Murray. 

Smith finished the game with 312 passing yards and four touchdowns, along with 31 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground as well.

Up next, the Wildcats will travel to Pacific Luthern on Oct. 23. The Wildcats return home on Oct. 30 when they host George Fox at 1:30 p.m.

 

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